LULU by John Linton Roberson (c) 2012.
I Didn't Write That!
15 June 2006
 
Huffington Wants You To Forget Hillary Too

...in this essay, where she points out Hillary's equivocation is exactly the sort of thing that costs Democrats elections.
...will Democratic leaders ever learn that this kind of have-it-both-ways hedging on matters of war and security is electoral death? Voters have an instinctive aversion to it. Something in their gut tells them that if a leader can't take a stand and clearly speak their heartfelt beliefs on such life and death matters, then they won't be able to keep us safe.

When it comes to their security, people don't want finely-parsed calculations, they want confidence. Even misguided confidence like Bush's.

Listening to Hillary, you could almost smell the cold calculation hanging in the air like the smell of gunpowder after a shooting. Hillary has told confidantes that, as a woman, she cannot take a position against the war and be electactable. So her plan was obvious: try and seduce the audience of progressives by talking about all the things they agree with her on before finally -- at the very, very end of her speech -- bringing up Iraq (and then only briefly).

Here are the subjects she talked about before getting to Iraq: the integrity of our voting system, health care for children, health care for veterans, Social Security, consumer protection, FEMA, the environment, the economy, raising the minimum wage, congressional pay raises, student loans, the bankruptcy bill, Katrina, flex time for working moms and dads, paid parental leaves, climate change, foreign debt, and fighting HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria.

I guess the thinking was that by the time she finally got to her Bush-like positioning on Iraq, the activists in the audience would say, "Okay, she's not very good on Iraq, but she's wonderful on flex time!" And, indeed, some I talked to at the conference had bought into this kind of thinking -- the kind of thinking that led to Democratic disasters in 2002 and 2004.

And when she finally talked about the war, Hillary was way worse than just "not very good on Iraq." She was godawful, announcing "there must be a plan that will begin to bring our troops home" but failing to offer even a hint at what this must-have plan might be. The debate over Iraq, she said, is "a difficult conversation." Difficult for whom? The American people have already had this difficult conversation, and 61 percent of them disapprove of Bush's handling of the war. The Democrats don't even have to lead. They just have to follow the people.

The Democratic leaders who still believe that the way to get elected is to be hawkish on the war, support the flag-burning bill, and share friendly photo-ops with Newt Gingrich, Bill Frist, and Rick Santorum, and be feted by Rupert Murdoch, should keep in mind that the president who shares that belief currently has a 33 percent approval rating.

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